Friday, October 31, 2008

Argh! Happy Halloween!


We experienced our first full fledged family Halloween tonight! At the time of Collin's first Halloween he was about one month old and Doug was in North Dakota for work that whole week, incidentally leaving me as the single parent of a newborn. Collin's costume was "baby in diaper" (photo at the right) with pumpkin socks compliments of Trish Cooley, I believe. I was so tired that I did not even give out candy.
Last year we stepped it up a notch and gave out candy at home. Collin also had a Dalmatian costume (left) that he wore for his party at daycare. But, again, as a family we did not venture out.

So, this year we took the plunge. The Saturday before Halloween we went to a celebration in Maple Grove with the Bartsch and Not-Cooley families where Collin got to wear his pirate costume for the first time ever. He was shy at first (especially for a pirate!) but definitely found his groove toward the end.

Riley "Not Cooley" as an elephant and Zack Bartsch as a dragon (though he preferred dinosaur) and Collin, all enjoying the balloons! Kiley, Zack's infant sister was a I guess he was inspired!

Today, actual Halloween, Collin again got to be "Captain Collin" the pirate and wore his costume to daycare and later tonight as we trick-or-treated. For as fidgety as kids his age can be, I am impressed that he typically wears the hat, sash and eye patch without trying to take them, those same items may fall off because of his activity level...but still, I'm impressed!
Collin had a hard time understanding that we could not go into the houses at first. He wanted to see people's pets and tried more than once to walk right in. After a while he got the hang of it. Full of sugar, we went to his daycare center (Elim Christian Learning Center) in Anoka where they had a "pitstop" type of Halloween party, complete with hotdogs, cider, hot chocolate, games, etc. etc. We spent some time there, then as the sugar wore off we headed home.

Collin really enjoyed the dancing and singing turkey that was part of a large outdoor display.

And he also enjoyed "just hanging out". Pirating is hard work!
All in all a "Happy Halloween"!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Time with "Toby"

I am normally not the kind of person who wins "stuff". I don't play the lottery, and I am normally not a winner at drawings or raffles if I decide to give it a try. So imagine my surprise when after entering a radio contest on K102 that I won the opportunity to meet Toby Keith!
On October 28, Toby's newest CD "That Don't Make Me A Bad Guy" was released. As part of a promotional tour he was doing an in person radio interview at the K102 radio station in Minneapolis. I signed up on the internet one day on a whim. A few days later I recieved a call that I had been chosen to be present for this interview and meet Toby Keith.
So, Doug and I arranged to take some time off from work. Collin was able to spend the afternoon and evening with his friend Bryce (THANK YOU to the Neumann family for babysitting!) and Doug and I had a "date" with each other...and Toby.

The setting at the "Roadhouse" where they did the interview was intimate. I would say there were less than 40 people present. We got to take part in the interview and meet/get our photo taken with Toby during commercial breaks. He shook our hand... and called me "sweetheart". Gotta love that southern charm! He really is as down to earth, irreverant, funny and handsome as one would expect...but I'll stop gushing now!

After the radio show, Doug and I completed our date with dinner the Texas Roadhouse in Coon Rapids. Where better to end the "country themed" evening?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Apple Orchard Fun

The day after Mike & Cagney's wedding, we took advantage of being "back home" and went to a local apple orchard with our friends the Hammill family, who were gracious enough to have accompanied us for the weekend as babysitters for the late part of the wedding dance.
The orchard was an ideal setting for a few good fall pictures of Collin, as well as a great backdrop for Collin and his friend JJ to play farmer and "ride" some tractors, compliments of the engine power of Uncle James!

Collin said he had fun at the orchard, and I think I believe him. He has eaten at least one apple almost everyday since we picked them...On the days when he has not eaten an apple, he has taken to asking for one anyway and just carrying it around....hmmm....

Congratulations Mike and Cagney

On Saturday, October 18 we celebrated the wedding of Doug's youngest brother Mike and Cagney, a truly beautiful bride! The wedding
and reception were held in Norwood/Young America, MN and fun was had by all! Pictured to the right are Kalie, Sybil, Dylan, Collin, Grace and Riley.

I did not have my camera for much of the night, choosing instead to live it up myself, so you will just have to take my word for it!

A connoisseur of fine milk....

Two & Terrific

Collin reached his 2nd Birthday on September 27. He celebrated early with his cousins Dylan and Tyson who share September birthdays. He spent his actual birthday at "the park" with some of his friends for a Toddler Party.

Although the weather was less than pleasant for us adults, Collin and the rest of the kids did not seem to mind!

Collin also got a clean bill of health at
his 2 year Well Child exam, with a small exception which has since the time we found out that the tube in his right ear had fallen out and fluid had started to build again...(he had tubes in both ears for chronic ear infections as an infant). We got the good news today that everything is clear and he is a healthy young man!

Collin at 2 years old:
Weight 27 lbs 5 oz
(41 percentile)
Length 35.5 inches
(79 percentile)
Thank you to everyone, family and friends, who helped us to celebrate Collin's birthday. We are grateful to have you in our lives!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Festivals & Fall Fun

It has been some time since our last post, and here are some pictures of the festivals and fall fun that has been keeping us busy!

We took our second family trip to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. Although Collin enjoyed the turkey drumsticks a lot, and took great interest in all of the loud and costumed Renaissance vendors, his heart belonged to the elephants! Both Doug and I got to take several turns riding the large elephants with Collin and that was the highlight of our trip too. Collin seemed to really enjoy it-not minding at all how high in the air you are or how "bumpy" the ride itself is. The only part he did not like was when it was time to leave!
Daddy and Collin experiencing high adventure atop an elephant

We also took some time to visit my uncle, aunt and cousins from the Westphal side of the family (my maiden name). The Westphal's still live a small, family farm life-style, complete with chicken coops, cows, corn fields and huge tractors. Although this was not our first visit with this side of the family, it was the first time that Collin has really been mobile enough to enjoy himself and be interactive with his environment.

We took advantage of the "ultimate petting zoo" experience that only a family farm can provide. Our first adventure was to the chicken coop, where Collin was a bit taken aback by how LOUD those chickens really
He fed and watered them, and
then it was time to collect the eggs of course!

Although not dropping the eggs into the bucket was a skill Collin has not yet mastered, some eggs were salvaged and we were given a few spares collected by the adults. We were able to take these eggs home with us for a genuinely "farm fresh" breakfast the next morning.
Next we ventured to the barn and pasture, where we met calves and cows and steers. Collin was a helper and fed the cows, taking an opportunity to pet them as they ate fresh hay. We then went to see the bulk tank where the milk is collected before it is taken by the creamery and turned into the milk we buy at the store....and that Collin literally consumes by the gallon every few days. He is a HUGE milk drinker and now has gotten to see firsthand where it all comes from.

So, this is where milk comes from?!?

We also toured some of the crops raised on the farm, including a visit to the cornfield which feeds those cows and chickens. If the stalks are dried that same cornfield can make an awesome scarecrow too! Collin also picked his first apple, straight from the tree.

Checkin' out the crops...and meeting a new "friend"

For the grand finale, Collin got to experience some huge tractors and other farm equipment...I think the scale of everything surprised and delighted him. He has toy tractors and trucks, and to see them on such a large scale, where he could really drive them behind the wheel, must've seemed like something out of a dream. He enjoyed

Tough guy behind the wheel
showing off his driving skills, motor noises included. Like the good boy he is, he was still always about safety first and demanded that the door to the tractor cabs were closed before he began to "drive" them.

I grew up on a farm right across the road from this one, and Doug worked on family farms throughout his childhood. Although farm life is not for us, we strongly agree that the work ethic that comes from being a farm-raised child is important and want to instill that in Collin as much as possible. We also do not want to parent the type of child who grows up thinking that his apples and milk magically appear in the produce and dairy aisles at the grocery story! We hope to keep a good connection with the Westphal farm in the future and are grateful to have this opportunity!